Free Press Journal

HC upholds life sentence of four, acquits 2 in kidnapping case


New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today upheld the life sentence awarded to four convicts for kidnapping a 16-year-old minor and demanding Rs 35 lakh as ransom from his parents nearly 14 years ago here.

The bench comprising Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Mukta Gupta, however, acquitted two of the accused for want of proof.

“Bringing the curtains down, we dismiss criminal appeals filed by Praveen, Sunil, Afroz and Pooran Singh. We maintain their conviction and the sentence imposed (by the trial court),” the bench said.

“We acquit Siri Ram and Samual Massey. They are acquitted of the charge framed against them and consequently the sentence imposed upon them is set aside. The two shall be set free if not wanted in some other case,” it said.

While upholding the trial court’s verdict against four persons, the bench lent credence to the testimony of the victim and his father who had said that threats were extended to them that the boy would be killed if ransom was not paid.

“The testimony of Sachin (victim) and his father clearly bring out that threats were extended of Sachin being killed if ransom was not paid. It may be true that the pistol recovered was a toy pistol, but a khukri being recovered cannot be overlooked.

“Besides, requirement of law (Section 364A of the IPC) is threats to be extended that the victim would be either killed or injured if ransom is not paid or of conduct being proved giving rise to a reasonable apprehension that such person may be put to death or hurt. The acts of such accused who are being convicted clearly constitute an offence punishable under Section 364A IPC,” the bench said.

An FIR was lodged on November 11, 2000 alleging that nine persons, including a juvenile, had kidnapped the victim and had demanded a ransom of Rs 35 lakh.

Sachin, a minor, was kidnapped by the accused after being called out of his house at Nirman Vihar here and later, the the accused demanded Rs 35 lakh from his father Sita Ram for releasing him.

Out of the nine accused, Ijaj was acquitted by the lower court and one Sanjeev Chopra was declared proclaimed offender during the trial.